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Free accommodation for people with loved ones in Galway Hospice

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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A city hotelier has led a new initiative which will help families of loved ones in the Galway Hospice.

Geoff Canavan of the 7 Cross Street boutique hotel is offering free accommodation at his premises to the Hospice.

Rooms, when available, will be offered free of charge to people who need to recharge their batteries during vigils with their loved ones in the Hospice in Renmore.

Geoff explained that the idea came to him after losing a sister to cancer recently when he realised the importance of spending precious time with someone who is ill.

“I met with the administrator of the Galway Hospice and they have welcomed and are supporting it. Obviously we can only offer this during our downtime months, probably up until next March, but I wouldn’t rule out it being available during the rest of the year if we have rooms available.

“It would be brilliant if bigger hotels would also come on board. We are only a small hotel but bigger hotels here in Galway or in other cities around the country could do this all year round.

“This will be monitored by the Hospice – it’s not a case of us giving rooms to people landing at the door saying they have a family member in the Hospice. I expect it to work on referrals from the Hospice,” explained Mr Canavan.

He said that his own family experience with the Hospice got him thinking what other families from outside the city and county did when the needed to be near loved ones.

“Spending time with someone who’s dying in a hospice is precious. You can’t put a value on that – it’s priceless.  But sadly some can’t afford accommodation in the city,” he added.

Mary Nash, Administrator of Galway Hospice said Mr Canavan’s offer was welcomed and would certainly complement the Hospice’s own in-house facilities and two self-catering lodges that they have access to nearby.

“We are delighted with his offer of hotel accommodation for individuals who have distances to travel and want to stay over and spend time close to their loved ones in their final days.

“We already have two self-catering lodges close to the hospice which have been made available to families who wish to stay close, but since our recent expansion these are often occupied so it is wonderful to have another accommodation option that we can offer to families.

“Often, family members need to take a break to freshen up and recharge their batteries so the option of availing of a hotel room for even a few hours is really welcome,” added Ms Nash.

CITY TRIBUNE

Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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